University of Stirling to develop new adult social care Centre

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The University of Stirling is partnering with the University of Birmingham, as part of a broader consortium of key stakeholders from across the four nations of the UK, to develop a new Centre for adult social care.

The new Centre - IMPACT (Improving Adult Care Together) - has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation and the Health Foundation, and will be the first Centre of its kind in the UK.

The Centre will receive funding of £15 million over the next six years and aims to:

• Lead the way in helping people working in adult social care, carers, and the people they support make better use of high-quality, practice-based evidence to support innovation in adult social care
• Build capacity and skills in the adult social care workforce
• Help develop sustainable and productive relationships between all of those working across adult social care
• Improve our understanding of what helps or hinders when putting evidence into practice

Professor Alison Bowes, Dean of the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences, will be part of the new centre’s Leadership Team. She will be supported by Stirling colleagues Professor Lena Dominelli, Professor Catherine Hennessy, Dr Kathryn MacKay, Professor Judith Phillips, Professor Alasdair Rutherford and Dr Karen Watchman.


Prof Alison Bowes has shoulder length grey hair and wears dark, square glasses. She is looking to the camera smiling with her hands clasped leaning on the bannister of the staircase she is standing on
Professor Alison Bowes
Dean of the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences
We’re delighted to be part of this important programme which is working across the four nations of the UK to improve the lives of people who use services, and make sure that the services use the best evidence to support their work.

Recognising the combined value of good practice and robust evidence from different sources, the Centre will bring together people with lived experience of social care, those providing unpaid care, people working in adult social care, experts in the mobilisation and implementation of evidence, social care providers, commissioners and policy experts, and academic teams from across the UK.

Together with stakeholders in adult social care and beyond, the IMPACT team will agree priorities and design, establish, deliver and evaluate the Centre’s work programme, aiming to lead to sustainable change in the use of evidence in adult social care.

Jon Glasby, Professor of Health and Social Care at the University of Birmingham and IMPACT’s director said: “Adult social care touches people’s lives in such important and intimate ways, and it’s crucial that it’s based on the best possible evidence of what works.

“Good care isn’t just about services, it’s about having a life – and the ESRC and the Health Foundation are providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real difference.”

ESRC Executive Chair, Professor Alison Park, said: “The complex nature of the social care system means that frontline practice does not always benefit sufficiently from the evidence we already have about what works.

“The increased implementation of evidence-based innovations and improvements in adult social care are crucial to ensuring better outcomes for the many people who use these services, and their carers and families. Finding a way to make this happen is challenging – but the prize, in terms of improvements to adult social care, makes it essential.”

Will Warburton, Director of Improvement, the Health Foundation, said: “The fragmented nature of the adult social care sector poses real challenges for ensuring the consistent provision of evidence-based, high quality care and support.

“The IMPACT Centre will work alongside people with experience of care, carers, commissioners and providers to develop practical support that will increase the use of high-quality research evidence in the adult social care sector across the UK.”

The Centre will receive phased funding until 2027, and builds on previous ESRC investments in social care including the Sustainable Care Research Programme, and ESRC’s Innovation in Social Care Initiative. The Centre has been funded by ESRC through UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF).